Press Release

Comptroller Stringer releases bold housing agenda to address the growing affordable housing and homelessness crisis

Stringer proposes 27-point plan to fight the housing crisis, end homelessness, and build a new generation of housing to establish real affordability in every zip-code

New York City’s housing and homelessness crisis has been decades in the making. What’s been missing is the leadership, experience and vision to tackle the crisis, head-on. That ends the day I’m sworn in at City Hall.

— Scott Stringer

New York, NY – Today, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released an expansive 27-point housing plan to address the growing affordable housing and homelessness crisis — laying out a bold agenda to build a new generation of social housing, affordable to the New Yorkers most in-need. Comptroller Stringer’s affordable housing vision would build more affordable housing in every neighborhood, require Universal Affordable Housing so large new buildings set aside 25 percent of all units to affordable housing, leverage City-owned vacant lots — including hundreds of newly discovered unused lots held by various City agencies — to build tens of thousands of 100% permanently affordable units for the lowest-income New Yorkers, fight homelessness with housing, end wasteful tax breaks for real estate developers, safeguard the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), and promote homeownership across the city. 

Stringer’s housing plan “Housing is a Right, Not a Privilege” is the third release of his mayoral agenda entitled “The Details to Deliver” — specific, actionable plans to set New York City on a fundamentally new trajectory and build a city for every New Yorker. Stringer’s mayoral agenda builds on his decades of public services and unmatched record of fighting for tenants’ rights — from his start as a housing organizer of Mitchell-Lama tenants, to being one of a handful of legislators in Albany to stand up to powerful real estate interests and vote against major rent regulation rollbacks including vacancy decontrol, to his analysis and vocal opposition to the current Administration’s failed housing approach which has fueled displacement across the city.

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said: “New York City’s housing and homelessness crisis has been decades in the making. What’s been missing is the leadership, experience and vision to tackle the crisis, head-on. That ends the day I’m sworn in at City Hall. As mayor, I will launch a sweeping program for Universal Affordable Housing that will fundamentally change the paradigm of this City’s housing plan to build affordability into every zip-code. My housing plan will harness the thousands of city-owned vacant lots — opportunities hidden in plain sight — and build tens of thousands of new 100% permanent affordable housing units for the lowest-income New Yorkers in partnership with a new City Land Bank. My detailed and comprehensive proposal will create affordable housing in every corner of the city, fight homelessness, protect NYCHA tenants, and make the dream of homeownership a reality for more of our working families. Let’s be bold and creative while standing on the side of tenants and homeowners — not the real estate lobby — and do what generations of New Yorkers have done before: build the housing we need.”

Congressmember Jerrold Nadler said: “Scott has been on the frontlines of the fight against the housing crisis for decades — and he has an unparalleled understanding of the critical need for a new generation of truly affordable housing. With more than half-a-million New York households on the brink, we need an experienced leader with the clear vision to bring us forward and make this city truly affordable for everyone.”

State Senator Brian Kavanagh, who chairs the Senate Housing Committee, said: “New York City’s housing and homelessness crisis demands clear-eyed, compassionate leadership and bold action — and that’s what Scott’s plan delivers. From prioritizing preservation of the housing stock we have, to building tens of thousands of deeply affordable homes for the New Yorkers most in need, Scott’s vision is the ambitious, comprehensive, and humane approach that will ensure that high-quality housing is not the exclusive domain of the rich and privileged but a right for all. And Scott’s long record as a champion for both tenants and homeowners should give every New Yorker confidence that he’ll succeed.”

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi said: “New Yorkers have a right to safe, stable, and affordable housing, in every neighborhood. But our city and our state stand on the cusp of an eviction crisis caused by the pandemic and the long term problem of a severe shortage of affordable housing, aided by luxury developers who claim billions in tax giveaways without delivering on their promises to build affordable housing. It’s time for a paradigm shift in our approach, and Scott has the bold vision to deliver on day one in City Hall.”

State Senate Jessica Ramos said: “Scott Stringer sees the full picture of our city’s affordability crisis — from low-income housing, to a housing-first plan for homelessness, to transformational investments in child care. His plans for New York City center communities of color and working people across our five boroughs, and his housing agenda is no exception. Housing is a right in every neighborhood and Scott’s vision will deliver the change we need.”

State Senator Gustavo Rivera said: “For too long, developers and speculators have run this City’s housing program and hurt communities of color on the frontlines of our housing crisis. Scott’s approach to universal affordability will lift up every neighborhood, and return power to communities to build the housing we need, end homelessness, and expand opportunity.”

Jennifer Jones-Austin, CEO and Executive Director of Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), said: “Scott Stringer’s vision for housing rightly treats homelessness and housing not as siloed issues, but as one and the same. The plan he has put forward to ensure affordable housing for all New Yorkers has the real potential to be a breakthrough and uplift low-income families and those New Yorkers living on the brink of homelessness.”

Chris Banks, community and housing advocate in East New York, said: “Scott Stringer has always been a fighter for truly affordable housing. From standing against sweeping rezonings in communities of color, to working with NYCHA residents to resolve complaints and keep public housing public, to advocating for aspiring homeowners, Scott has always been there to deliver for East New York and communities across the five boroughs. He’ll bring that vision and experience into City Hall to fight for communities of color on the frontlines of our gentrification and displacement crisis and keep our neighborhoods affordable for generations.”

Aaron Carr, housing activist, said: “For decades, New York City has tried to separate housing from homelessness—but they are one and the same. Scott’s plan recognizes that in order to solve our homelessness crisis, we must solve our housing crisis. This plan will serve as a template for cities across the country, and is a tremendous step forward in ensuring that every New Yorker is housed.”

Chris Kui, former Executive Director of Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) and former Commissioner of New York City Planning Commission, said: “Scott’s housing plan will put power back into the hands of communities across the city, to develop the housing that low-income New Yorkers need, not luxury condos built by private developers. Affordable housing is the foundation of our city and as Mayor, Scott will deliver a new generation of housing that will help everyone from the seniors who built our city up, to New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet, to students, immigrants, and artists looking for a shot at a better future.”

Joseph Mpa, Community Voices Heard board member, said: “New York City is growing more and more unaffordable every day, and communities of color are on the frontlines of this crisis. The people who built up communities and neighborhoods are on the verge of losing their homes, and the City has failed us. The proposals in Scott Stringer’s plan will put communities ahead of private developers and help New Yorkers who are struggling the most. They are the ideas we need to finally start to reverse our housing crisis.”

Albert Scott, Chairman of the Homeowners Association, said: “Scott has been fighting to leverage City-owned vacant lots for years to address our affordable housing challenges. As mayor, I know he won’t just talk the talk on affordable housing, he’ll walk the walk. We have vacant, city-owned lots across the city just waiting to be harnessed for working and low-income families. I have no doubt that Scott’s plan will deliver for New Yorkers and that he will build the next generation of affordable housing.”

Paulette Soltani, Political Director of VOCAL-NY Action Fund, said: “For years, the city has poured money into shelters and broken vouchers, instead of creating adequate supportive and affordable housing for homeless New Yorkers. With commitments like 30,000 additional units of supportive housing and strengthening our City’s rental assistance program, this plan includes critical solutions to ensure every New Yorker has a home.”

Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change, said: “Scott’s plan to redistribute city resources to those most in need is exactly what New York City needs in the midst of an overwhelming housing crisis–and especially in the recovery from a pandemic that has hit the lowest income families the hardest. This new direction would go a long way to undo decades of failed housing policy by New York City mayors building unaffordable housing for communities.”

Stringer’s 27-point housing plan is organized around seven core parts: 

Part I: Turning the corner on COVID

Our economy cannot be fully restored until New Yorkers feel secure in their homes. Scott has a near-term plan to help renters stay in their homes — by extending the eviction moratorium until the economy is moving again, by offering rental vouchers to those most in need and increasing the value of current vouchers to meet market conditions, and by offering free legal counsel to keep people in their homes. At the same time, we need to help small landlords stay solvent, while also converting vacant commercial properties into new shelters, as well as affordable and supportive housing.

Part II: Invest in a new generation of social housing

Invest in a new generation of social housing that is protected from the market’s long-term upward rise. Scott will end wasteful tax breaks to big developers, leverage the city’s trove of some 3,000 vacant lots, and Create a NYC Land Bank and partner with community land trusts to build housing New Yorkers need. 

Part III: Double down on preserving existing affordable housing

Double down on preserving existing affordable housing to fight rampant  displacement and stabilize housing. Scott will use the City’s tools to more aggressively take control of distressed buildings from absentee landlords and slumlords, prioritize not-for-profit preservation, end the City’s lien sale and finally coordinate agency responses to lead paint to create additional safe, healthy, and stable units through preservation.

Part IV: Reform NYCHA and secure the funding it needs

Reform NYCHA and secure the funding it needs to protect one of New York City’s most important sources of deeply-affordable units and keep public housing public. Scott will democratize NYCHA for its residents, redirect hundreds of millions to emergency repairs, and overhaul tracking and maintenance to improve operations and fight waste. Our City cannot afford to wait for Washington to realize the importance of public housing.

Part V: Make every neighborhood more affordable for every New Yorker

Make every neighborhood more affordable for every New Yorker by requiring all big developments to set aside 25% of all units as affordable under his Universal Affordable Housing proposal, and creating an independent Long-Term Planning Office to work with communities and drive affordability in every corner of the city. Scott will end the de Blasio Administration’s developer-driven rezonings of low income communities, investing in permanent solutions to inequity —not band-aids—and give tenants the tools they need to assert their rights.

Part VI: Fight homelessness with housing and support.

For too long we have approached homelessness and housing as separate problems. Scott has a plan to end this siloed approach and finally tackle homelessness — by expanding our supportive housing network by an additional 30,000 beds over the next 10 years; opening up more low-barrier, Safe Haven beds and offering housing vouchers for those living on the streets; and investing in programs to prevent domestic violence, which is now the leading cause of homelessness in the city.

Part VII: Make homeownership—a well-worn path to generational wealth—available to more working New Yorkers.

Scott’s plan will help first-time homeowners with down payments, give tenants a legal right to buy their buildings when they go up for sale, reform taxes and fees, and allow homeowners to build small rental units—known as accessory dwelling units—to earn the extra income that comes from a rental. 

To read the full Stringer agenda on housing and homelessness, click here.

Scott Stringer grew up in Washington Heights in the 1970s. He attended P.S. 152 on Nagle Avenue and I.S. 52 on Academy Street. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Marble Hill and John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, a CUNY school.

Stringer was elected City Comptroller in 2013. Prior to serving as Comptroller, he was Manhattan Borough President from 2006 to 2013 and represented the Upper West Side in the New York State Assembly from 1992 to 2005. He and his wife, Elyse Buxbaum, live in Manhattan with their two children, Max and Miles.